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Ha Shamayim (The Heavens)
for Orchestra

Composer: Mills, Amy Riebs

  • 32040140

Publication Type

Full Score


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Instrumentation: 2222; 4331; timp, 2 perc, pno; stgs
Duration: 13'30"
Composed: 2016
Published by: Amy Mills Music, LLC

“Like a modern Pictures at an Exhibition….”

“Ha Shamayim” is an original piece for orchestra that was inspired by photographs taken by the Hubble space telescope. Each section is inspired by one photo; the title of each section is the title that NASA gave to the photograph.
The words “Ha Shamayim” are Hebrew for “The Heavens.” They are written in Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” The words are also seen in Psalm 19.

Section I: Warped Edge-On Galaxy ESO 510-G13
The piece begins in outer space with its glistening stars. Glissandi are used to depict the strange but beautiful warp seen in the photograph.
Section II: Galaxy Fires at Neighboring Galaxy
Suddenly the piece erupts as one galaxy fires blue gas at its neighbor. They engage in a cosmic battle.
Section III: Youthful-looking Galaxy May Be an Adult
The adolescent galaxy is personified by a humorous, gawky melody reminiscent of teenage boys who walk on feet that are still too big. Occasionally there is an argument with an authority figure, but the joy of exploring the universe quickly returns.
Section IV: Star Birth in Galaxy M83
The dramatic photograph looks like a womb with veins. The music begins on one note, then it begins to explore the initial swelling and stretching. It morphs into an energetic fast theme, still growing. Ultimately it becomes glorious and expansive, like the new star.
Section V: String of ‘Cosmic Pearls’ Surrounds an Exploding Star
The first theme is a happy circle dance inspired by the circle of white dots in the photograph. The second theme is noble and joyful. It is reminiscent of the melody in the famous chorus in Haydn’s “The Creation” with the words from Psalm 19, “The heavens are telling the glory of God.” The music then has flashbacks to the earlier sections, and ends in triumph.

The five sections in “Ha Shamayim” are continuous with no breaks.
Difficulty Level: 5 (Advanced/Professional)
See composer website for audio sample.

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